YARMOUTH, Maine (NEWS CENTER)- It's a new approach to medicine that is springing up across the country and now in Maine. Patients tired of assembly-line medical care are paying hundreds of dollars to get personalized service with their doctor.
Doctors practicing so-called "concierge medicine" believe patient's health will improve in the long term.
Helen Budri has been going to Dr. Phillip Fredrick, a primary care physician for 22 years. But he has never really had the opportunity to get to know her until now.
'I am finding out things all the time that I think are really pertinent to their health, to their wellness I never knew before because i now have time to ask,' said Dr. Frederick..
Two months ago Dr. Frederick converted his practice to a 'concierge medicine' model. He is the first doctor in Maine to join MD-VIP. The Florida-based consulting company that helps run a network of similar medical offices across the country.
'What MD-VIP promised me was the opoprtunity to get back to my roots. That is kind of a new approach of an old fashioned style of practice, that I think people still cherish and want for themselves.'
That includes trading 15-minute visits for more time with patients, that can last longer than an hour But this personalized medical care comes at a price. Budri agreed to pay a 15-hundred dollar annual fee to be part of Dr. frederick's smaller practice. He used to see more than 15-hundred patients, now there are only 600. What budri gets in return is 24-hour access to her doctor.
Some of the annual fee covers tests, comprehensive wellness screenings and one to one couseling services not typically covered by commercial insurance or Medicare.
In addition to paying the fee, all the of Dr. Frederick's patients still must use their insurance to cover routine medical care. But patients we spoke to it's worth every penny and you get to keep your doctor.
Dr. George Gardiner plans to open a MD-VIP practice in Scarborough in January.